White Sox

Thome's revenge: Winning blast puts Sox four back


Thome's revenge: Winning blast puts Sox four back

Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010
Updated 12:19 AM

By Brett Ballantini

MINNEAPOLIS Before Tuesday night's game, Bobby Jenks was nonplussed by the Minnesota Twins.

These three games, yeah, they are important, but not that important, said the erstwhile Chicago White Sox closer. Its not going to matter what we do here if we cant go out and beat the rest of our division.

True enough. But the White Sox would do well to at least stay in Minnesotas rear-view mirror, eh?

Such a goal is becoming less and less of a physical possibility, as the Pale Hose struck two unlikely rallies but still could not drop the Twins.

Jim Thome hit a walk-off, two-run homer to lead Minnesota to a 7-6 win in 10 innings, before a 54th straight sellout at Target Field.

It feels good, Thome said after the game, bleary-eyed from a shaving cream pie dealt him for his heroics. I know I was in for a challenge against Matt Thornton. I couldnt get his first fastball, but then I caught him. Its such a great win for us.

If it was Denard Span who hit the winning home run, Id be crying right now, said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who declared that hed take the matchup of Thornton vs. Thome over and over again. But Jim Thome has what, 600 home runs? Tip your hat, come back tomorrow ready to win.

Alexei Ramirez had extended the game to extra innings with a leadoff, ninth-inning home run off of Minny closer Matt Capps, then pushed home the apparent winning run in the 10th with a single to center field. But the White Sox could muster no more; after rallying to load the bases with one out, Paul Konerko hit into a 4-6-3 double play to extinguish the threat.

As far as can be told, the hustle points the White Sox receive for battling back from a 4-0, first-inning deficit, or tying the game at five in the ninth, or pushing ahead 6-5 in the 10th dont count in the standings. Chicago dug a four-run hole for the second straight game, and starter John Danks put it all on himself.

I put us in a hole against a good team, he said. Ive relied on my cutter all year, and I didnt have it today. We fought back, but I didnt do us any favors.

Tuesdays mugging came in the first frame and was perpetrated by Orlando Hudson (solo homer), Jason Kubel (two-run triple) and Thome (RBI single through the shift), threatening to bury the White Sox early.

Yet as the early night air in the Great White North squeezed wafer-thin, balls started flying off the White Sox bats as well. Konerko led off the second inning with a solo shot, followed two batters later by Mark Kotsay, who deposited out a two-run bomb. Two innings later, it was A.J. Pierzynski scoring Kotsay with a double that completed the comeback.

Minnesota took the lead on Delmon Youngs seven-iron shot in the fifth inning, which put the Twins up by one and reliever Glen Perkins in line for the win. Perkins, Matt Guerrier and Jesse Crain strung together 3 13 innings of scoreless relief seemingly to ice the game for Minnesota.

Danks indeed may have deserved a better fate, having fought back after tossing 48 pitching in the first two innings and spreading just 56 over the next five frames.

Despite assuming the responsibility for the loss, it was Danks who sounded determined after this disappointing loss even as he was encumbered by the sobriety of a four-game deficit in the standings.

We know we have a good team over here, and weve rallied hard all season. Were a tough bunch of guys, Danks said. Were not going to stop fighting until they tell us theres no reason to fight any more.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?


White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?

As the 2018 season nears and the White Sox get ready to take on the rest of the American League, we're taking a team-by-team look at all 14 of their opponents.

What’s there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?

Perhaps a better question for White Sox fans: When’s Manny Machado coming to the South Side? (Better question from me, personally, is when Chicago might acquire Maryland's greatest creation: the crab pretzel. Had in College Park last summer. It's amazing.)

Whether that ends up happening or not is a question for next offseason, but that query is one that plenty of South Side baseball fans on social media have asked for years now. Machado, mentioned in trade rumors during the Winter Meetings in December, is most likely entering his final season as an Oriole. His contract is up at season’s end, and he’s expected to land a gargantuan deal next offseason.

The funny thing is that for all the hullabaloo over the 25-year-old infielder, he’s coming off his worst statistical campaign as a big leaguer. In 2017, he slashed .259/.310/.782, all three of those percentages seeing huge dropoffs after a sensational 2016 campaign a year prior. His power numbers stayed relatively consistent, but his run and hit totals plummeted as the O’s weren’t quite as a competitive as in years past.

Now, Machado is likely still cruising for a big contract regardless of what he does in 2018. He’s moving to shortstop, which will be interesting. But he’s young enough that even another season like last year won’t make too big a difference, considering how good he’s been throughout his career.

That’s who White Sox fans will be watching whenever their gaze falls on the Baltimore baseball club. (They won’t be alone, by the way, and some contending teams might even try to add him at the trade deadline.) But the O’s are making news for other reasons, recent reasons, in fact.

The biggest name left on the free-agent market finally signed this week, and now the Orioles have a big-time addition to their starting rotation. Unlike Jake Arrieta, it appears Alex Cobb’s waiting game paid off in the form of dollars, years and a no-trade clause. How nice for him. It’s also nice for the O’s, who get to add a guy to a low-key decent starting staff.

Cobb, who had a 3.66 ERA in 29 starts last season, might not be ready to rock for the start of the regular season considering he didn’t ink a deal until a week out from Opening Day — bet he’s good at staring contests, too — but the trio of Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner (another new addition) and Kevin Gausman will be ready, and all those guys are coming off a solid-enough 2017. Bundy had a couple good stretches, posting a 3.03 ERA over his first 13 starts and then a 2.00 ERA in the month of August. Gausman had a 3.31 ERA over his final 18 starts. Cashner, another free-agent signing, had a 3.40 ERA with the Texas Rangers.

So while the likes of Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and the better-than-Machado-last-year Jonathan Schoop still make the O’s an offensive threat in a hard-to-win AL East, the starting pitching might be where the magic is this time around.

2017 record: 75-87, fifth place in AL East

Offseason additions: Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner, Colby Rasmus, Alex Presley, Pedro Araujo, Joely Rodriguez, Nestor Cortes Jr.

Offseason departures: Welington Castillo, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty, Seth Smith, Jeremy Hellickson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley

X-factor: I said it just above, and I'll say it again: Jonathan Schoop was better than Manny Machado last season. Schoop made the All-Star team and finished with 32 homers, 105 RBIs and a .293/.338/.503 slash line. His .841 OPS was one of the best 50 in the game. Should we expect Schoop to be the best middle infielder on the O's in 2018, too? Maybe that's a little extreme, but hey, good to have this guy.

Projected lineup:

1. Tim Beckham, 3B
2. Jonathan Schoop, 2B
3. Manny Machado, SS
4. Adam Jones, CF
5. Chris Davis, 1B
6. Trey Mancini, DH
7. Colby Rasmus, RF
8. Caleb Joseph, C
9. Alex Presley, LF

Projected rotation:

1. Dylan Bundy
2. Andrew Cashner
3. Kevin Gausman
4. Chris Tillman
5. Mike Wright Jr.

Prediction: Third place in AL East, no playoffs

Catch up on the AL:

Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

Catch up on the NL:

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers

Sounds like we know how the White Sox starting rotation will line up to start the season


Sounds like we know how the White Sox starting rotation will line up to start the season

Rick Renteria's starting rotation isn't exactly official for the start of the season, but it's about as close as it can be.

Maybe "unofficially official" is the best way to go?

The South Side skipper agreed with the assessment of reporters Wednesday in Arizona, saying that an order of James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer "sounds right."

Shields was already announced as the White Sox starter for the season opener next Thursday in Kansas City. That wasn't much of a surprise considering Shields' veteran status in this rotation.

Giolito, who made seven starts at the end of last season and looked mighty good doing it, might be the best starting pitcher on the team going into the season. He posted a 2.38 ERA in those games, with many fans hoping he would have been the one to take on the Royals in the opener. It sounds like he'll likely pitch two days later in Game 2 against the Crowns.

Lopez made eight starts at the end of last season, turning in a 4.72 ERA in those starts. He's another former highly touted prospect who will get a full season to continue his development at the major league level.

Gonzalez was brought back this winter after being traded away from the South Side last summer to bring another veteran mentor type to help along these young pitchers. He had a 4.31 ERA before the trade to the Texas Rangers after a 3.73 ERA in a full season with the White Sox in 2016.

Fulmer is another young arm who will be looking to earn a spot in the crowded rotation of the future this season. He's had a rough spring — though turned in his best start of the spring earlier this week — but he'll be given every opportunity to prove he can succeed as a big league starting pitcher after showing some promise at the end of last season.

Those first three guys will face off against the Royals on the season's opening weekend. Gonzalez and Fulmer are expected to make their first starts of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada.